Special Picture # 339 – “The Gang” at the Trumbull House – 1934

This is a photo of many of the young people who congregated at the Trumbull House. This photo was taken in 1936 on the side porch.  A few of them are mentioned in Grandpa’s early letters regularly.Those include Barbara Plumb (who was actually engaged to Dan for a while); Jane Claude-Mantle (who married Charlie Hall and is the mother of a great childhood friend); Ethel Bushey (very good friend of Elizabeth (Bissie) Grandpa’s only daughter); and Arnold Gibson (Lad’s best friend). Lad is in the back row, 4th from the right, Dan is in the  front row, 1st from the right, Dave is in the front row, 2nd from the right.

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Special Picture # 340 – Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion with Some of her Children

 

 

Arla Mary (Peabody Guion with Alfred Peabody Guion (my Dad) – 1914

Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion with Daniel Beck Guion – 1916

Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion and Richard Peabody Guion – 1922

Arla Mary Peabody Guion with her first five children – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss – 1921

Trumbull – Dear High School Graduate (1) – Dave’s Graduation and News From Dan – June 25, 1944

David Peabody Guion – (Dave)

Trumbull, Conn., June 25th, 1944

Dear High School Graduate:

There are certain recurring events in the life and progress of my children that serve as steppingstones, aside from birthdays — such as turning you over to the Shelton draft board, and, what I have immediately in mind, graduation. I saw the youngest of my sons receive his diploma last night and it brought back memories of that same occasion for each of you. As far as I can recollect, however, the whole affair as managed the other night at Bassick (High School in Bridgeport, CT) was arranged and conducted in a more satisfactory manner than any of the previous ones — and that opinion has nothing to do with the fact that Dave had any part in it. To be sure he was one of three, out of a total of 26 who had joined the Armed Forces, who was on hand to receive his diploma, and thereby caused a little special ceremony to be enacted. Most of these affairs are too long. This was not. There was no tedious reading of each name and waiting for that person to come forward to receive his parchment to the accompaniment of reiterated and tiresome applause. Each received his diploma in silence as they walked out. All names were printed on the program given to each of the audience. Speeches were not overlong. The whole affair, with a very satisfying aftertaste, was ended by 9:30. So Dave became the “last of the Mohicans”.

Dave got home much earlier than we expected him. He walked into my office Monday, his army uniform plastered to his body by a naughty shower that hit him walking from the station. He looks about the same, healthy but with no additional weight. He seems much interested in the Signal Corps work and hopes, but is not banking on it, of getting a chance at O.C.S. He goes back Tuesday. Red Sirene is also home on furlough and he too goes back Tuesday. Jean’s (Mortensen, Dick’s wife) married brother, in the Marines, is also on furlough and he too goes back Tuesday.

        Daniel Beck Guion – (Dan)

I don’t suppose any of you have had the experience of a 300-pound object resting on your chest, but perhaps you can imagine the relief when he gets off. In that case you may have somewhat of an idea how I felt when I received a V-mail letter from London dated June 6th, as follows: “Today the war seems much nearer to its conclusion than only yesterday. For so long have we been working towards this day that it began to seem that it would never really happen — that it was just a distant “certainty” which we all took for granted — but never quite visualized! This morning I heard the first “rumor” third-hand, by word-of-mouth, ‘Allied paratroops have landed in France’. But false reports had already been spread days ago, and a glance out of the window at the streets of London failed to reveal any abnormality. No church bells, no horns blowing, just the normal traffic — both vehicular and pedestrian. London was characteristically undisturbed on the surface, but by noon-time when I went out to eat, I found that the newspapers had been sold out immediately and the invasion was the predominant topic of discussion. At the Red Cross Club I listened to the radio over which the BBC was broadcasting recordings of the opening stages. Later in the evening the radio was the center of interest. Never have I seen so many of the boys so interested in a news- cast. I suppose each of us realizes how, by a stroke of fate, we might have been one of the men going into France on ‘D’ Day! I am on duty tonight which prevents my finding out how London is spending the evening but I suspect there will be little hilarity because most of the people have friends and relatives in the invasion armies. The fall of Rome created hardly a ripple of excitement, and the staid BBC announced that item in its regular laconic fashion. The newspapers permitted themselves rather large headlines, but certainly not in the manner you could call sensational. I believe today marks the great speeding of the tempo that will carry this degenerate martian symphony to a brief but perhaps terrible coda. Then – peace! and home! and a convalescent world turning toward the healing sun of hope.”

Trumbull – Dear Dan, Old Son – October 4, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., October 6, 1946

Dear Dan, old son:

If this letter should happen to reach you just three weeks from today, the term of endearment used above will be fully justified. Two wars have come and gone since 1915, which is enough in any man’s life. I had hoped that this year we would be able to celebrate the occasion in the usual manner in Trumbull, but it looks now as though 1947 would be the appointed year for this event. However, the day will be remembered and commemorated in your old dad’s heart, you may be sure, and if it be so ordered that your arrival in America occurs on or before the 21st or 28th (I don’t yet know which date Harry will pick) it will be a real Thanksgiving Day and belated birthday celebration combined. Under the circumstances, not knowing just when you will start and also being uncertain as to just how long the packages in transit take to reach you, I am omitting sending any tangible little token in the nature of a birthday gift.

There is not much of moment to report here at home, except that shortages of food and materials seem to be worse even than during the war and much more expensive. The Wardens (the family renting the apartment and are building their home) are having difficulty getting building materials, the bottleneck at the moment for them is obtaining plumbing materials. They have the sidewalls up and are starting to put on a roof so it looks as though possibly the apartment will be available for you folks by the time you arrive. If not, it will undoubtedly be soon thereafter and in the meantime we can double up somehow. If the worst happens you could convert the music room into temporary living quarters along the idea of “any port in a storm”. This certainly will be a Christmas to be remembered, particularly if Ced can also be with us. The girls here are planning some sort of New Year’s party and with you and Chiche and Ced present, everything would be just “ducky”. Here’s hoping.

Our “turbulent turtle” in Alaska has turned turtle as you will observe from the following quotation. That boy is getting out of hand being away from parental influence for so long a period as witness the salutation with which his latest comes addressed to me as Chief Winnepoo Guionsauke Ragweed Nose Run, Ackachoo County Reserved. I don’t know where he gets the reserve, as there is certainly no reserve in my sneezing when I once get started. However, here’s what he says:

Grandpa, at this point, quotes the entire letter from Ced posted on October 1, 2, and 3. Instead of repeating The Harrowing Tale of a Crash, I have given you links to the posts.  I hope they work.

http://Life in Alaska (1) – A Harrowing Tale of a Crash – September, 1946.wordpress.com

Life in Alaska (2) – A Harrowing Tale of a Crash – September, 1946

Life in Alaska (3) – A Harrowing Tale of a Crash – September, 1946

Grandpa continues:

Dear Ced: Life for you is certainly not stagnation. That was a near thing but I suppose “All’s well that ends well.” I must be a bit psychic because out of the clear sky a while ago I had a rather uneasy feeling that something was wrong with you. It was so slight as to be hardly worth noting and I dismissed it from my mind but I recalled having experienced it immediately upon reading your letter, and I am a bit skeptical about such things, too.

As for the bank not notifying you that your balance is not sufficient to meet the check presented, that is the universal custom of banks– at least in this section of the country, and I have had more than one argument on such occasions myself. It is one of the banking customs that earn, for that profession, the reputation of being hard boiled. Transferring your account to another bank would be merely jumping from the frying pan into the fire. They are all the same. Anyway, everything is now straightened out and it might a lot better have happened to me than to some stranger. Someone once defined a bank as one who lends you his umbrella when the weather is clear and asks for its return when it starts to rain. As there was no mention of your being drafted into Uncle Sam’s Air Force, I assume you again cleared that hurdle. Soon you will be “Too old”. Did Art (Woodley, the owner of the airfield where Ced works) put it over again or just what did happen?

No further word from Dan as to definite sailing date, but we’ve got our fingers crossed. And now your little daddy has got to go to Bridgeport to put the clamps on a hopeful couple, so goodbye until next week.

Dad.

Tomorrow, a letter from Ced, then a letter from Don Stanley to Ced, then another letter from Ced and a final letter from Don Sirene.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Brigands Large and Brigands Small (1) – News From Dan – June 11, 1944

Trumbull, Conn., June 11, 1944

Dear Brigands large and Brigands small:

It was a dark and stormy evening. Gathered around the campfire were Brigands large and brigands small. The Captain said to his trusty lieutenant: “Antonio, tell us one of your famous stories”. And Antonio began, as follows:

All right, all right, that’s enough. Don’t want to hear any more of that, hey? Don’t like to be reminded of your cheerless childhood days, Mary Morey, etc. Very well, if you’re so uppity about it we’ll come down to the present.

Surprise, got a v-mail letter from Dan last week, just when I had given up all hope of hearing further from him until the invasion stress was over. And guess what! He’s a T-4 now, which according to the only way I can figure it, must be a cross between a Corporal and a Sageant. The letter is dated May 21st, postmarked June 7th, received on the 9th. They evidently waited that long for the letter to cool off, but even at that there were a couple of blisters on the envelope, and here’s why:

Dan-uniform (2)“Today I am in a vicious mood because of circumstances beyond my control. The immediate cause: my being restricted over the weekend for something over which I had no control. We were invited to a dance on Friday night. The Special Service office sponsored the affair and allotted transportation to and from the dance. In good faith we accepted the invitation, but the trucks were late in returning to the Post and we were all restricted. I don’t understand how any of us, as individuals, could have gotten back earlier, no one, as far as I can determine, was put in charge. We had to return with the trucks and that they were late was not the fault of those of us who went as guests under the premise that ‘transportation would be furnished’. It seems doubly unjust during these trying days when we have so little time for relaxation and amusement” I admit it sounds monstrously unfair the way you tell it, Dan, but this seems to be part of Army training and I’d like to bet you that each one of your brothers in the service has had similar experiences, if that is any compensation. It has its brighter aspects for me, however, because were it not for this enforced idleness, do you think I would have gotten that letter? NO, chorus they all in loud voices. What a weight off my harried mind to know that you were well, if not particularly happy, on that date. I see you are still with the topo. bn., (Topographical battalion) which has been of immeasurable comfort since D-Day, in the hope, mistaken or not, that such duties as you have been trained for will not be of such nature as to expose you to Nazi shot and shell. I suppose that is selfish, but if so, I admit it unblushingly. If you were my only boy I couldn’t want you safe and sound home again any more than I do right now. I’m glad you’re so near to “history in the making” but I also have that niggling feeling, “River, stay away from my door”.

The newlyweds, in flitting from roost to roost, have been too busy traveling and getting acquainted with the other in-laws to find time to write this week but I expect we’ll be hearing from them before long.

Tomorrow, the rest of this letter with news from Ced  and Dave. On Wednesday and Thursday, another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, a letter from Marian to the family.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – To My Dear Little Easter Bunnies (4) – A Note to Dan – September 22, 1946

And Dan, old topper, the old saying about “absence making the heart grow fonder” (someone has paraphrased this as “Absinth makes the head grow lighter“) is a truism I can thoroughly understand. When there was no immediate chance of your soon coming home, I sort of passively and philosophically accepted the fact, but now I am all agog again and can’t wait for the weeks to slip by when I’ll be starting off in the old Buick to convey my “trio” back to old Trumbull. Cigarettes are going to you regularly although when I was away Dave was a bit slow in shipping them to you and let a week go by and then sent 20 cartons in one shipment. However, I hope you get them O.K. and in time for your needs. Received two more government checks for deposit to your account. Any plans as to what you will do after you get home? I am afraid you will find things about the house here a bit run down due to the scarcity of materials, high cost of labor, etc. House needs painting without and redecorating within, a new roof and an oil burner. The latter is promised next week and today I have been digging a hole for the 550-gallon tank. It is hard work for an old 62 yearer but we made some progress at the expense of my back. Dick goes to work tomorrow on a pick and shovel job in Fairfield which he got through the U. S. Employment Bureau. It pays one dollar an hour. I’ll know more about it when I write you next week. Your little old Chevy, Dan, is still doing yoeman’s service. As you may imagine, it is a rundown old rattletrap but keeps running and is a lot better than nothing these days when no new cars are available.

The twins are fine, growing apace, each way over 12 pounds now. Their fond parents took them to the doctors yesterday for their regular checkup and he pronounced them A-1. They are getting out of the small infant stage, smile at one, talk in baby language, and are developing individual personalities. In other words they are getting more interesting every day.

The hour is late and my back yearns for its “beauty-rest”, so I’ll bid you both a fond adieu from your old

DAD

Tomorrow I’ll continue the Diary and Journal entries of John Jackson Lewis as he makes his way to San Jose, California in 1851.

On Sunday, I’ll continue the story of my early Guion Ancestors in New Rochelle, New York.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Neglectees (2) – A Birthday Greeting and News From Dan – September 22, 1946

page 2    9/22/46

This continues the letter started yesterday from Grandpa after his return from vacation on the Island. He has been recounting some of the highlights, the biggest being his 62nd   birthday.

Spurred on by the occasion I decided to dash off a bit of verse and send it to each of you on a postal but found that the message was too long to get on the half of the picture postcard devoted to correspondence, so decided to wait and send it later. While it’s nothing to rave about, I’ll send it on for what it is worth. I didn’t have my birthday date book with me and couldn’t recall the year, so instead of making it 62 as it should have been, being ever conservative, I added another year on for good luck, hence the 63 to rhyme with “tree”. Anyway, here it is:

A BIRTHDAY GREETING FROM DAD

The swift years tick by and Life’s gong strikes the hour

For me, it rings sixty-three

And today as I count o’er the gifts of great price

That hang from my family tree,

I find there a daughter and five worthy sons,

Five grand-children, Marian, Chiche and Jean.

(They’re really ALL “grand” children — babies or no,

If you really see just what I mean.)

Yes, I’m wealthy today in the world’s choicest gifts

And these riches, dear children of mine,

shall we hope, will continue to ever increase

And be with me for quite a long time.

A.D.G.

 

   Daniel Beck Guion (at left) surveying an American cemetery in Europe 

(When Dan was discharged, while still in France, he was hired as a civilian contractor by the Army to survey American cemeteries throughout Europe.)

   Now let’s get to some real interesting news. A letter from Dan, Versailles, 20 Aug., Says: Here is a letter that should gladden your eyes — we are planning to stage a sort of D-day in November if nothing unusual occurs to prevent it. Private shipping is still uncertain but it seems quite possible that we three can travel together by gov’t. transport leaving Bremerhaven sometime in November. My year’s contract expires on Oct. 16th but Arla must be six months of age before she can sail — hence there is a lapse of about three weeks after my contract expires before we can sail.

There are a few things I should like to have you send me tout de suite before I leave in order to straighten out my European affairs. (1) about 40 cartons of cigarettes (preferably in lots of 10 or less for post office reasons) (2) stocking protectors larger than those which you sent (those we received were #10). That’s all I can think of right now.

Chiche’s watch arrived safely and threw her into transports of delight. I received the slacks and undershirts and sox. The electric iron was both a wonderful surprise and a sad disappointment — it has all the virtues except one — both of us thought of the voltage but it seems that 1000 watts is a bit too much for the electrical wiring of the house at Calais. We blew out several fuses trying to get results. Of course we shall bring it back home with us in the fall (the iron, not the blown fuse).

Our survey crew finished the two cemeteries in Holland and next we shall go again to Normandy. Arla is getting along famously. She is putting on weight more than satisfactorily and seems to have won over the hearts of all who know her. And I am more homesick than ever! Dan

Another from Normandie, Sept. 9 that says: Just a brief note to remind you that will be seeing you soon — and that I can hardly wait. I am back to my original stamping grounds of two years ago, Isigny, Carenton, Cherbburg, etc. We are surveying two more of the cemeteries in this area. I have not heard from Chiche and Arla since leaving Calais a week ago but mail service to Normandie is not particularly gratifying. So long for now. Dan

Tomorrow and Thursday, I’ll continue this letter from Grandpa. On Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his two still-absent ones.

Judy Guion